Wife, the latest effort by St. Louis dark-wave ensemble Chapters, is one of those albums you’ve just got to listen to straight through – its impact builds over the course of the album. These guys combine rhythmic, beating melodies with compelling lyrics. You can’t help but get caught up in it.
The album begins with “Side Effect,” a brooding, dark track that quickly sets the tone for the rest of the album. The music is entrancing, but what really caught my attention were the lyrics. Frontman Vincent Marks opens with “Take it or leave it now/ Open your legs or not / Trust me, babe/ Ask your friends / I won’t wait on you.”
Marks was formerly a fiction writer, and it shows in his music. Slowly, phrase by phrase, each song reveals a story – something tragic. In “Critical End,” he relates – you guessed it – the end of a relationship, saying, “I only wish you knew/ How the time we had was pointless.” “Consensual” is about illicit relationships, and the betrayal, the guilt, and lies that go along with them. In contrast, “Climax and Exoneration” almost has a triumphant feeling, one of independence and moving on.
Whether you’re in it for the great dance music or for the emotional journey, Chapters is a solid band, and Wife is proof of that. The group has two distinct elements going on – the music and the lyrics. They act as a sort of yin and yang, at once reacting to each other and blending perfectly. If this album is any indication, Chapters is only going to get better. They tour regionally in Missouri and Illinois; try to catch them if you’re in the area.